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Martin pitches El Centro to win

July 11, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

For the past year El Centro baseball player Tyler Martin had not pitched in a game because of an arm injury.

He didn't pitch at all during the 14-year-old Babe Ruth season, but after strong showings in practice he got the nod to start in the El Centro all-star's 14-year-old District 7 tournament game against Northend — made up of players from Brawley, Calipatria and Westmorland — in El Centro on Tuesday.

The year off didn't seem to bother him as he led El Centro to a 13-6 victory to advance to the finals of the tournament.

He finished with five strikeouts, one hit allowed and one earned run in four innings of work to pick up the victory.

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"I really didn't expect to do that well. I mean, the last time I pitched was last year," said Martin. "I was surprised with how well I did. What made things easier, though, was the rest of the team scoring runs and giving me a lead."

Martin didn't have to wait long for a lead as El Centro scored eight runs in the first three innings — four in the second — seemingly putting the game out of reach.

Not only did El Centro score eight in the first three frames, but it scored runs in every inning of the game and recorded at least two runs in five of the six innings.

"This was an excellent game for us. Our batting really came through for us," said El Centro manager Mario Meza. "We started hitting in our first game (Monday against Sunset) and now we're starting to get in a groove."

El Centro's offensive groove was evident as it out-hit Northend 13-2. Leading the El Centro hit parade were Gustavo Roman who went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run and Jack Fleming, who finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run. Joe Vasquez chipped in two doubles and scored three runs.

"It wasn't just our offense, though. Everybody came through. I think Tyler pitched a really great game and we played really good defense," said Meza. "It was just a good team effort. So now, we're going to take (Wednesday) off to just relax and get ready for whoever we have to play Thursday."

Meza and his squad will face the winner of the Northend/Sunset contest, which starts at 7 tonight at Stark Field in El Centro.

Northend's biggest output came in the top of the fifth as it scored four runs. Northend reached base six times in the frame. Julian Escalera recorded Northend's only hit in the inning, with the others reaching base on errors and walks.

Northend added runs in the second and seventh innings. Brett Whannel scored the team's first run on a passed ball in the second. Escalera accounted for the run in the seventh, scoring on a Ryan Gibson base hit.

Said Northend manager Frank Romo: "We kind of let the kids decide where they wanted to play and I don't think that really worked very well. So we had to make a few changes out there.

"This is just one of those games you have to put behind you. So we're going to do that and come out ready to play Wednesday."

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